A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen Act III

HELMER.
Good-bye, good-bye, dear old man!

NORA.
Sleep well, Doctor Rank.

RANK.
Thank you for that wish.

NORA.
Wish me the same.

RANK.
You? Well, if you want me to sleep well! And thanks for the light. (He nods to them both and goes out.)

HELMER.
(in a subdued voice). He has drunk more than he ought.

NORA.
(absently). Maybe. (HELMER takes a bunch of keys out of his pocket and goes into the hall.) Torvald! what are you going to do there?

HELMER.
Empty the letter-box; it is quite full; there will be no room to put the newspaper in to-morrow morning.

NORA.
Are you going to work to-night?

HELMER.
You know quite well I'm not. What is this? Some one has been at the lock.

NORA.
At the lock?

HELMER.
Yes, someone has. What can it mean? I should never have thought the maid — . Here is a broken hairpin. Nora, it is one of yours.

NORA.
(quickly). Then it must have been the children —

HELMER.
Then you must get them out of those ways. There, at last I have got it open. (Takes out the contents of the letter-box, and calls to the kitchen.) Helen! — Helen, put out the light over the front door. (Goes back into the room and shuts the door into the hall. He holds out his hand full of letters.) Look at that — look what a heap of them there are. (Turning them over.) What on earth is that?

NORA.
(at the window). The letter — No! Torvald, no!

HELMER.
Two cards — of Rank's.

NORA.
Of Doctor Rank's?

HELMER.
(looking at them). Doctor Rank. They were on the top. He must have put them in when he went out.

NORA.
Is there anything written on them?

HELMER.
There is a black cross over the name. Look there — what an uncomfortable idea! It looks as If he were announcing his own death.

NORA.
It is just what he is doing.

HELMER.
What? Do you know anything about it? Has he said anything to you?

NORA.
Yes. He told me that when the cards came it would be his leave-taking from us. He means to shut himself up and die.

HELMER.
My poor old friend. Certainly I knew we should not have him very long with us. But so soon! And so he hides himself away like a wounded animal.

NORA.
If it has to happen, it is best it should be without a word — don't you think so, Torvald?

HELMER.
(walking up and down). He has so grown into our lives. I can't think of him as having gone out of them. He, with his sufferings and his loneliness, was like a cloudy background to our sunlit happiness. Well, perhaps it is best so. For him, anyway. (Standing still.) And perhaps for us too, Nora. We two are thrown quite upon each other now. (Puts his arms around her.) My darling wife, I don't feel as if I could hold you tight enough. Do you know, Nora, I have often wished that you might be threatened by some great danger, so that I might risk my life's blood, and everything, for your sake.

NORA.
(disengages herself, and says firmly and decidedly). Now you must read your letters, Torvald.

HELMER.
No, no; not tonight. I want to be with you, my darling wife.

NORA.
With the thought of your friend's death —

HELMER.
You are right, it has affected us both. Something ugly has come between us — the thought of the horrors of death. We must try and rid our minds of that. Until then — we will each go to our own room.

NORA.
(hanging on his neck). Good-night, Torvald — Good-night!

HELMER.
(kissing her on the forehead). Good-night, my little singing-bird. Sleep sound, Nora. Now I will read my letters through. (He takes his letters and goes into his room, shutting the door after him.)

NORA.
(gropes distractedly about, seizes HELMER'S domino, throws it round her, while she says in quick, hoarse, spasmodic whispers). Never to see him again. Never! Never! (Puts her shawl over her head.) Never to see my children again either — never again. Never! Never! — Ah! the icy, black water — the unfathomable depths — If only it were over! He has got it now — now he is reading it. Good-bye, Torvald and my children! (She is about to rush out through the hall, when HELMER opens his door hurriedly and stands with an open letter in his hand.)

HELMER.
Nora!

NORA.
Ah! —

HELMER.
What is this? Do you know what is in this letter?

NORA.
Yes, I know. Let me go! Let me get out!

HELMER.
(holding her back). Where are you going?

NORA.
(trying to get free). You shan't save me, Torvald!

HELMER.
(reeling). True? Is this true, that I read here? Horrible! No, no — it is impossible that it can be true.

NORA.
It is true. I have loved you above everything else in the world.

HELMER.
Oh, don't let us have any silly excuses.

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